Last Update: September 2017

The shrimp fishery on the northwest Pacific coast of Mexico, including the Gulf of California (GoC), ranks as the most important in México. It has the highest economic value of landings and contains the largest number of vessels and the greatest number of direct jobs. It ranks in third place in terms of volume with annual landings of approximately 40,000 tons—most of which is imported to the US market during a season that begins in September and runs through March. Much of the Gulf of California shrimp fishery has made improvements in sustainability over the last 10 years, including stocks and bycatch monitoring, fishing effort reduction, area closures, fishery regulations, enforcement, and compliance; but there are still areas for improvement. The Gulf of California Shrimp Supply Chain Roundtable focuses on monitoring the sustainability status of shrimp fisheries, and pushes for improvements where they are needed. SFP’s approach with this project is to convene suppliers and buyers to engage them in activities to monitor shrimp fisheries and encourage fishery improvement projects. Participants in the Gulf of California Shrimp Supply Chain Roundtable are principally suppliers and processors. The roundtable sometimes invites producers to update participants on progress in improvements. SFP provides the following services to participants:  

  • An annual overview of the sustainability of shrimp fisheries throughout the Gulf of California
  • Briefings on emerging sustainability issues in the region that may impact on supply, certification, corporate reputation, and other areas important to the seafood industry
  • An opportunity to discuss matters of common interest such as creating demand for new FIPs where needed, exploring models for financing FIPs, and developing procurement specifications promoting sustainability.

Supply Chain Roundtable Participants: 

Aquastar
Red Chamber/Meridian
PROMARMEX/Amende&Schultz
Eastern Fish
Blessings Seafood
Delta Blue Aquaculture
Tai Foong USA
Seattle Fish
Fortune Fish Co
Slade Gorton & Company
Tampa Bay Fisheries
Del Pacifico Seafoods
Ocean Garden Products
Albion Fisheries 

Fisheries and/or FIPs Covered: The roundtable focuses on Gulf of California, Mexico, fisheries for yellowleg, whiteleg, and blue shrimp. The following FIPs are supported and monitored: 

Sinaloa Artisanal Shrimp FIP
Magdalena Bay Shrimp FIP
Gulf of California Industrial Shrimp FIP

For more details on the sustainability status of the fisheries, progress of the FIPs, and improvement recommendations, please follow this link

Improvement Needs and Recommendations: 

Improvement Needs:

  • The development of a fishery management plan (FMP) for the Mexican Pacific Coast shrimp fishery was started in 2004, but the process was interrupted. During 2012 the National Fisheries Institute (INAPESCA) resumed the development of the FMP, however, it has not been implemented or evaluated as precautionary yet.
  • A federal observer program for the industrial fishery was implemented in 2016 to resume the bycatch data collection that occurred in 2004–2010, but there is not yet any publicly available information on the program implementation or results.
  • Illegal, unreported, and unregulated (IUU) fishing is believed to be an issue in the artisanal shrimp fisheries, including fishing by unlicensed vessels and use of unapproved gear configurations.
  • While IUU fishing in the industrial shrimp fishery is no longer a severe issue due to increased monitoring and enforcement, it is essential to publicly ensure there is no backsliding and that all fishing activity is in compliance with all federal regulations.
  • Recent monitoring has indicated that the status of the endangered vaquita porpoise is worsening. The Upper Gulf of California shrimp fisheries, if undertaken in full compliance with federal regulations, should have little to no negative impacts on the vaquita.

Action Recommendations for Suppliers:

  • Request the National Commission for Aquaculture and Fisheries (CONAPESCA) to finalize and publish the fishery management plan.
  • Monitor the implementation of the observer bycatch monitoring program initiated in 2016. Ensure that the information generated from the program meets the needs of the bycatch-related performance indicators in MSC Principle II and is publicly available.
  • Request that exporters implement a system to verify that artisanal landings are acquired from vessels that are using the required fishing gear and are registered according to the regulations.
  • Establish third-party auditable control documents between producers and importers to verify compliance with the fishery regulations.
  • Encourage the adoption of traceability programs to document fishing operations and increase accountability and transparency to the control documents.
  • Monitor the ongoing efforts of the Mexican government, environmental organizations, and fishers' organizations to protect the vaquita porpoise and seek opportunities for the seafood supply chain to contribute to these efforts.

 Current Objectives: 

  • Monitor ongoing progress in the artisanal shrimp FIPs (Sinaloa and Magdalena Bay).
  • Encourage continued progress in the industrial shrimp FIP, especially fleet-wide implementation of control documents and a formation of a multi-stakeholder client group to pursue MSC certification.
  • Monitor for any opportunities for the supply chain to take action to support ongoing efforts to save the vaquita porpoise.

Progress Update:  

2014

  • Roundtable initiated during Seafood Expo North America in March 2014.  It was later formalized in November 2014 with companies that represent 90 percent of the Mexican Pacific coast wild shrimp exports to the US signing on as participants.

2015

  • 2015 SR meeting (Seafood Expo North America, Boston Massachusetts, March 2015) – Presentations included the advances achieved in each FIP during the previous year as well as updates on the environmental performance of each fishery and the improvement recommendations to promote during 2015 Presentation.
  • The Sinaloa Artisanal Shrimp FIP leadership was transferred from SFP to Del Pacifico Seafood in May. For details please click here.

2016

  • The Sinaloa Artisanal Shrimp FIP was certified by Fair Trade USA under the Capture Fisheries standard.
     

2017

  • The SR met in March in the margins of the Seafood Expo North America in Boston to review the status and FIP progress of fisheries covered by the SR.  Key points from the meeting are available in the meeting report.
  • A portion of the Gulf of California Industrial Shrimp FIP was transitioned from SFP to PROMARMEX in June 2017. PROMARMEX’s FIP is specific to their supply chain and is being implemented at the producer level. Other former FIP participants may also transition their portion of the work to a new FIP, which would also be considered a transition of the SFP FIP to industry. SFP’s FIP report at the time of the transition has been archived and is available here. PROMARMEX’s FIP public report can be found here.
  • At the end of June 2017, the Mexican government issued a permanent ban on gillnets in the Upper Gulf of California (with exceptions for the curvina and sierra fisheries) because of the negative effects of gillnets on vaquita.

Project Contact: If you would like more information about the Supply Chain Roundtable or wish to support it, please contact SFP.

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